Previously on The Exorcist: Father of Lies
“Time to give the people what they want.”
And boy does The Griefbearers give its audience what it wants!
Despite Marcus’ misgivings, it turns out bringing Angela into his Circle of Exorcists is a damn good idea, but not before Pazuzu gives each family member a piece of its demonic mind. You see, not only did Angela follow Tomas to the convent, but so did the rest of the family. Casey’s demon has fun taunting each of them individually. “Mother MacNeill – someone got old,” it says to Chris, before turning its attention to Kat and Henry, taking the blame for causing the accident that resulted in his brain injury, while mocking Kat for her “lesbo” feelings for the friend who died in the car accident. Pazuzu pulls no punches, but saves the best till last, taking Angela on a trip down memory lane, to the time when she was first possessed as an 11-year-old girl. The connection between mother and demon is horrifying in its intensity. Snapping out of her reverie, the demon takes full control of Casey and is prepared to end the girl’s suffering permanently. But before it can snap Casey’s neck, Angela grabs her daughter’s head, and calls for the demon to leave. Tomas, Marcus, and Mother Bernadette passionately recite the Catholic Act of Contrition – the Confiteor – and it’s enough to remove the demon from Casey. This is the money-shot – we got the exorcism we were looking forward to since episode one – and the ritual appears to have worked.
The Rance family are packed and ready to skip town, to Canada or Venezuela, they don’t care. But Henry thinks Kat should accompany her grandmother back to Palm Springs where she could continue her dancing career. Kat says she’ll think about it. Henry is a lot sharper now that Pazuzu is gone. Could better times be ahead for the family? Not if Detective Lawrence has his way. He’s still side-eyeing Casey for the deaths of the paramedics. But first he has to get through to the family, who are going to lawyer up.
Recovering from his wounds at Tattersal, Fr Bennett is with Cherry and Lester Rego, the Ghost Bus tour operators, and together they leave an anonymous tip with the police regarding the dozen or so bodies at the warehouse. The cops follow this lead and raid the Homeless Man’s place of residence. The man, later identified as John Harplin, asks the leader of the SWAT team if they can hear the angels sing before he puts a gun in his mouth and kills himself. Word soon gets round the networks that a plot to assassinate the pope has been uncovered.
Marcus and Tomas are out in a bar celebrating their success, toasting “to standing in the doorway and pushing back the night.” Marcus suggests that Tomas could have a promising career as an exorcist, but Tomas isn’t really interested. When the news report comes on TV, Marcus knows that their troubles are far from over. For Tomas, this truth hits home, because Jessica’s husband has caught on to their affair and is going to spill the beans on Tomas to his superiors. He could very well face ex-communication himself.
Meanwhile, Fr Bennett confides in Cardinal Guillot about how the papal planning commission is in league with Tattersal, and that the pope’s safety is severely compromised. Who can be trusted? Not the cardinal, that’s for damn sure. He has his security team cover Bennett’s head with a bag when the priest says he knows the names of who can be trusted. Right now, only Marcus, Tomas, and Bennett are on the side of the angels – and Bennett’s time could have run out.
The Griefbearers saves the biggest shock till last. Back home at the Rance’s, preparations are afoot to leave town, but the mother/daughter conversation between Angela and Chris takes a terrifying twist when it becomes fatally clear to Chris that all is not right with Angela. The Salesman didn’t just refresh Angela/Regan’s memories of childhood; he possessed her once more. Angela snaps her mother’s neck and throws her downstairs. Chris is dead – the possession is complete. Pazuzu is back where he wanted to be: with Regan.
This is the penultimate episode of The Exorcist’s debut season, with the two-part season finale coming up in a couple of weeks – and what a way to leave the audience hanging. This is a superb episode that closed one part of the story, while at the same time opened one more door. Killing off Chris MacNeill in the way that she did it leaves us in no doubt that The Exorcist has kind of come full circle. Geena Davis is exceptional in these closing moments. The look of hate, the menacing smile when she murdered her mother, the sense of victory, all palpable on Davis’ face. Wonderful. Terrifying. And it doesn’t bode well for the safety of what’s left of her family. The finale is going to be manic, and I cannot wait to watch it all unfold.
The papal planning commission were absent in this episode, with still no follow-on from Superintendent Jaffrey’s possession. Was it Satan himself, or another demon entirely? And what role does Maria Walters’ dying husband have to play come the Apocalypse?
Is there anyone besides our trio of priests that can be trusted in the Church?
While I’m sad to see Sharon Gless killed off, her part in proceedings had pretty much been played out. It might have been good to see her play an active part in Casey’s exorcism, though, just to give her something proactive to do.
I doubt very much that Bennett is dead, but matters look precarious for him. Will he snitch on Marcus and Tomas?
I’m glad that issues between Tomas and Jessica are coming to a head. Tomas needs to man/priest up and deal with his adulterous behaviour. Does he stay or does he go?
If I was the pope, I’d be staying the hell away from Chicago. I’d be like Jude Law’s character, Sixtus XIII, in The Young Pope – if you want to see me, come to the Vatican.
The Exorcist S1E8 = 8.3/10